Robin's Pincushion

©Les Binns

Robin's Pincushion

Scientific name: Diplolepis rosae
Living up to its name, the Robin's Pincushion is a red, round, hairy growth that can be seen on wild roses. It is caused by the larvae of a tiny gall wasp that feeds on the host plant, but causes little damage.

Species information

Statistics

Diameter of gall: 2.5cm

Conservation status

Common.

When to see

January to December

About

The Robin's Pincushion (also known as the 'Bedeguar Gall') is a gall caused by the larvae of a tiny gall wasp, Dipoloepis rosae. The gall is widespread and common, and can be found developing on the stems of Dog-roses during late summer; it acquires its reddish colour as it matures in autumn. Each gall holds many grubs, which feed on the gall tissues throughout the winter and emerge in spring as adults. The adults reproduce asexually and only a tiny number are male.

How to identify

Unmistakeable: the Robin's Pincushion is a spherical, red, fibrous growth on the stems of Dog-roses. You are more likely to see the galls than the adult gall wasps or the grubs.

Distribution

Widespread.

Did you know?

Female gall wasps lay their eggs on their host plants, which causes the plants to swell up into characteristically odd shapes. The larvae feed on the plant tissue inside the galls.

How people can help

Our gardens are a vital resource for wildlife, providing corridors of green space between open countryside, allowing species to move about. In fact, the UK's gardens provide more space for nature than all the National Nature Reserves put together. So why not try leaving wilder areas in your garden, such as patches of buttercups in your lawn or nettles near your compost heap, to see who comes to visit? To find out more about encouraging wildlife into your garden, visit our Wild About Gardens website: a joint initiative with the RHS, there's plenty of facts and tips to get you started.